Photo source: jil111, Pixabay
As I was wrapping up my day yesterday, I listened to a TED talk by Jeffrey Marsh, How to be You.
Marsh mentions the work of Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse who wrote the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Jeffrey shared the number 1 regret based on Ware’s interviews:
I wish I had the courage to live a life that was true to myself, and not the life other people wanted me to live.
This reminded me of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Her mother, who was already very ill and dying, had told her:
I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life. I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.
I had felt the same way, and until several months ago, I didn’t know there was any other way to live. Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of my journey now is embracing, discovering who I am beyond the roles I had played all my life. Finding that balance, or allowing who I truly am to shape the roles I play, instead of letting the roles define my identity AND my worth once more.
The process of being in the driver’s seat, of being true to one’s self, is a long, winding, exciting, at times confusing and painful journey. But I can honestly say that it has been so worth it. And in between the fears and the tears, I do find myself whispering to the heavens, “Thank you for showing me another way to live.”
This is the kind of clarity and joy and inner peace I wish more people would know. To all those who are seeking these, may you also find it. May you also get here. May we get to know more deeply who we truly are. And may we stand in our truth for the rest of our lives.